Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: Authors Crossing the Boundaries Between Teen and Adult

I am a huge reader, and when I need a break from things, I can be found in a book. I don’t limit myself to teen books (much, I think, to Karen’s consternation) and can be found reading a lot of paranormal and urban fantasy. What I have found interesting is that a lot of authors seem to be floating back and forth across that teen and adult boundary- and not the “new adult” boundary either. I have 5 of my favorite authors that write both for adults and teens, and they write the perfect books for October. Maybe a little magic, maybe a little otherworldly, but definitely a lot of fun.


Darynda Jones writes the bestselling Charley Davidson series for adults: Charley is a part-time investigator and a full time grim reaper, and ghosts have been her constant companion. Trying to convince them to “go through the light”, however, is easier said than done, especially when they want revenge. Complicating the plot is Reyes, who’s character develops more complications as the series moves on. Her most recent adult book is Fifth Grave Past the Light.

When she puts on her young adult hat, she’s writing the Darklight series, where Lorelei holds the fate of the world on her shoulders- literally. She is the key to something she’s just beginning to discover, and that is putting all of her family and friends in danger, not to mention the angel of Death who’s come to protect her. 

Kelley Armstrong has been a force in paranormal romance with her Women of the Otherworld series, creating strong, sexy and confident female characters with a little extra power to throw at their troubles. Her teen series, The Darkness Rising and The Darkest Powers) showcase her writing with less of the sexy so that teens are given all the twists and turns and thrills that has made Armstrong’s career.

Kim Harrison is known for creating The Hollows series, with feisty witch Rachel Morgan, vampire Ivy, and pixy Jinx in their own detective agency taken on runs in a world where the paranormal lives among humans. With graphic novels telling the prequel stories, and books continue the series, Harrison’s world continues to grow. Yet she took the time to write the story of  Madison Avery, a sixteen-year-old who is destined to be the dark reaper, and killed before her time was up. Wandering without her body, Madison is determined to figure out who killed her, and then fix a system where human choice actually makes a difference.

Melissa de la Cruz is the only author we’re focusing on that went the OTHER way- teen first and THEN adult. First published with her Blue BLoods series for teens and telling the tales of the TRUE upper crust of New York- the elite vampires, and the threats that await them, and then with the Au Pairs trilogy, Melissa de la Cruz then broke into the adult world with The Witches of East End series (also listed sometimes as the Beachamp Family series). You can see the television version of The Witches of East End on Lifetime (check your local listings)- I’m watching it and having a fun time. She is also launching a new YA series, Frozen, soon, so definitely keep an eye out!

Sherrilyn Kenyon created the Dark Hunter universe, which expands from Dark Hunters (dead warriors come back to life in the service of Artemis to take out demons and vampires, but can reclaim their souls through finding their true love- if their love can keep hold of their soul through the reclaiming) to Dream Hunter (warriors fighting in dreams) to Were-Hunters (you can fill in the blanks on that one, right?). All of them are fighting the good fight, and all are missing their true soul mate at the beginning at the book, and might find it at the end, yet there are huge arcs throughout the books to connect the stories together. And if all of THAT wasn’t enough to keep together and keep straight, Kenyon started The Chronicles of Nick, the teen adventures of a character in the Dark Hunter universe that plays an intricate part throughout most of the adult series. And Nick isn’t your ordinary teenager- learning to slay zombies and raise the dead, hunting vampires and shapeshifters isn’t on the normal high school curricula. 

So those are five of my favorite adult authors that write teen books. Do you have any? Share in the comments!

Reaper Review: Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison

The memory of fire trucks that existed only in the future seemed to haze over my sight as I looked across the busy road to the three-story apartment complex. Having watched-no, lived- Tammy and Johnny dying in a fire had more than shaken me. It had rocked me to my core. I’d thought that I’d made a difference, but all I’d done was made things worse. Josh, at least, got home safely. He’d been gone only five minutes, and I missed him already. I worried that he was going to drift away, looking for someone who wasn’t being yanked across the continent to save someone she didn’t even know, someone who didn’t have to lie to her dad all the time, someone who had friends other than angels- and someone who could eat a friggin’ bowl of popcorn with him. Why couldn’t I just be normal?

In the conclusion to this trilogy by Kim Harrison, we delve deeper into the chaotic life of Madison Avery, conflicted — although not entirely unwilling — Dark Timekeeper and default leader of the Dark Reapers.  She still disagrees with the practice of killing people before their time in order to save their souls, but does not know how to make the changes to the heavenly system that she thinks are necessary.  With the help of vaguely Light reaper Barnabus and pretty much Dark reaper Nakita, can she find a way to show the heavenly host that human choice has meaning?

Fluffy.  With spikes.  That’s what comes to mind when I think about this book:  Harrison’s rather goofy humor is threaded throughout, but the issues dealt with therein are very serious.  What is the meaning of human choice?  When is it okay to lie?  What does it mean to have a soul?  Given the chance to forget something terrible, would you?  Or, given the chance for normalcy, would you give up the chance to be either a stupendous success or an utter failure?

Rating:  4/5.

Written by That Guy.

Christie: Agree with all his points. Nakita and Barnabas make for a compelling read, and Harrison builds Madison’s world completely- including having a 17-year-old dark reaper still worried about getting caught in California past curfew. Recommend pairing with books like the Croak series, or Darnyda Jones’ series Darklight, or Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job.

My Emotional Soundtrack: What Keeps Me Sane

So the other day I talked about things that I just couldn’t go back to, even if I wanted to (if you missed it, go here).  Today, I thought that I’d share things that give me comfort.  It’s a rocky place out there, and while I consider myself a stable person, there are things that can rock you to your core- things that happen with your teens/tween, within your professional life, within your personal life, or within the world in general.  We, as teen advocates, should be embodying and modeling ways that are at least generally healthy ways to cope with whatever life throws at us, because you never know who’s watching.  We can (and do) break down in private, but we can’t exactly go screaming through the stacks to let off steam, as much as we would like to.  Someone, unfortunately, is bound to notice, whether it’s our teens, our patrons, or our boss.

So, I thought I’d share what keeps me as sane as I can be [which I’ve been told is up for doubt some days 🙂 ], and please share yours in the comments below.  I think we’d all like to learn different ways to keep on keepin’ on.

Family and friends.  Even if they are over half a world away, and we only connect via social media, text or email, I can send out something and get something back within seconds to minutes.  I have a very expanded definition of family, very different than what most people (and probably those in my “family” would consider) but these are the people that if something happened, I know that they’d drop everything to get to me- and I would drop everything to get to them.  I can contact them with anything and no matter how trivial, or how silly, we can laugh or cry or share and it’ll be OK.  And I have been extremely blessed in that I have found people where ever I have landed throughout my life and have been able to keep adding to my family.

Music.  I really cannot live without music, and I am as bad as my tweens and teens with it- needs to be on constantly.  I listen to just about anything (save for most rap- that’s a whole different discussion), and you can rarely find me without my player.  I name them.  The current one is named Lilith after the Lilith Fair concert series, an ipod Touch, and has a speaker set in my office and has a port in my car.  Plato is quoted as saying, “Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”  I prefer Aldous Huxley, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”  

Tea.  I’m not sure how I grew up with sweet tea in the middle of Illinois, but we always had sweet tea in the house.  I got out of the habit in college, but after I married That Guy, I got back into iced sweet tea, although the sugar got replaced with substitutes.  Now, I’ve gotten into hot teas at work and at bedtime, and oh, man, it is a comfort.  I haven’t gotten the hang of the spiced teas or fruit teas yet (always willing to try) and haven’t been brave enough to try a chai (they seem so expensive), but I’m addicted to black teas that have vanilla caramel or a good English Breakfast tea.  I even got a special cup from my last Disney trip that has Alice and the Mad Hatter having a tea party that I can microwave that has a sippy lid, instead of having to balance an open cup around my crazy kids.  Ah, simple joys.

Fluffy things.  I’ve always been lucky in my library career in that I’ve always had someplace with storage that was mine and mine alone, and I know enough about library worlds to know that my situation isn’t always the norm.  I’ve always been able to have something fluffy to take out to play with the kids, whether it’s a bear or a bunny dressed in different outfits (did you know that those Build-a-Bear animals fit in about size 3-6 month baby clothes?).  And as my space has expanded, so too has my collection of things, as you can see above.  I’ve gone from one teddy bear that was for baby story times to a bear and a bunny (who have been renamed for co-workers by the kids), a chef, two sock monkeys (a pirate and a ninja), a frog, a Dalek, and a Beaker, and there are a basket of Beanie Babies in the closet waiting for the appropriate time.  However, the toys aren’t just for the kids- they’re for me too.  They all mean something, and at times, I need the hugs that they’ve stored up from the kids who have dressed them and babysat them.

Books.  Always, constant, faithful companions are books.  My house is full of them, my work is full of them, and my life is full of them   If they weren’t, I am definitely in the wrong job. When I want comfort, I want the familiar, and I want familiar authors- ones that I know I like and will transport me away for a while.  I don’t want to take a chance on a book and be disappointed.  I take off the librarian and blogger hat, and I put on the consumer/patron hat, and read what makes me feel safe.  And yes, I know there are bloggers and librarians alike out there probably pulling hair out at the thought of using reading as an escape, but sometimes, for me, it is.  

My favorite YA and Adult authors are ones that I know will deliver me to other places and settings, give me a good story, and not jar me with inconsistencies.  I turn to the techno worlds of Cory Doctorow, to the realities Judy Blume (heaven help me if Summer Sisters or Superfudge goes out of print).  I go to the worlds of Anita Blake and Merry Gentry by Laurel K. Hamilton, and Rachel Morgan and Madison Avery from Kim Harrison.  I look for Maureen Johnson, David Levithan, John Green, Rachel Cohn, Jillian Larkin’s Flapper series and Anne Godberson’s Luxe series (all considered teen/young adult materials).  I look for Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series, or Patricia Brigg and Tanya Huff, or Eric Jerome Dickey (all considered adult materials).  I look for Mercedes Lackey (an author that can fall either teen or adult, depending on the reader).

So, those are my comforts.  What are your comfort reads, your comfort things?  Share in the comments below.